Food & Drink

12 PDX Restaurants Worth Waiting in Line for

Published On 02/19/2015 Published On 02/19/2015
David L. Reamer

Portlanders seems to have a high tolerance when it comes to waiting for a table. Maybe it’s because often times the food is just that good, or because they don't know about these sweet places, but whatever the reason, these 12 PDX restaurants, at least, are totally worth waiting in line for...


Pine State Biscuits

Fluffy biscuits topped with fried chicken, fried green tomatoes, over-easy eggs, bacon, gravy, and ooey-gooey cheeses... are you in line yet?


Saburo’s Sushi

If you want to be part of the first seating at this intimate sushi spot you can’t be afraid to be a door buster, because raw-fish-lovers are often lined up an hour before opening (even in the pouring rain).

Cheryl Juetten


Saturdays and Sundays will bring long wait times for one of the two dozen quaint tables at this beloved, locally sourced cafe. But no one will complain when the thoughtfully rolled breakfast burrito and a slice of honey pie arrives.  

Mi Mero Mole

Mi Mero Mole

Knowing that rich, flavorful moles, handmade tamales, and tangy margaritas are at the end of a sometimes 10-plus-deep line gives you the strength to wait at this authentic, casual Mexican joint.

David L. Reamer

Pok Pok and Pok Pok Noi

It’s all about them wings, and this take on chicken is worth it at Andy Ricker’s flagship Thai spot. At least at the Division location, you can hang at the Whiskey Soda Lounge until your table is ready.

David L. Reamer

Toro Bravo

John Gorham’s Spanish-meets-Northwest tapas spot is known for its long, hour-plus wait times, but don’t be deterred, the minute you get a seat at one of the lively communal tables and the first round of small plates arrives, you’ll forget you just spent the last hour starving.   

Kari Young


Though you may need a Russian dictionary to truly understand what you’re ordering, once your long anticipated table is full from corner to corner with zakuski and your glass is filled with vodka, your patience will have paid off in full.

Chris Ryan

Tasty 'N Sons

On Saturdays and Sundays just watch as hipsters gather, dreaming of Moroccan Chicken Hash and Chocolate Potato Doughnuts. Oh, and then realize that you’re one of them.

Apizza Scholls

Apizza Scholls

Thanks to the recent addition of more seating, pinball machines, and a TV showing every Blazers game, the wait times may be slightly less than the super-early days at this pizza mecca, but the pie continues to kick some serious hind-parts, and is well worth the time in line.

Multnomah Whiskey Library

Multnomah Whiskey Library

People have been known to wait up to three hours for a seat on a vintage leather couch at this whiskey emporium with cocktails made table-side and tasty bar snacks.

Flickr/George Kelly

Screen Door

Often referred to the best Southern brunch spot in Portland, you might get through three mugs of strong coffee before sitting down to your fried oyster Benedict or fluffy buttermilk pancakes, but the caffeine should help to make the wait fly by.

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1. Pine State Biscuits 2204 NE Alberta St, Portland, OR 97211 (Alberta Arts Dist)

Pine State Biscuits uses ingredients taken straight from the farm to make biscuit creations that'll satisfy every comfort food craving.

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2. Saburo's Sushi House 1667 SE Bybee Blvd, Portland, OR 97202 (Sellwoodmoreland)

If you want to be part of the first seating at this intimate sushi spot you can’t be afraid to be a door buster, because raw-fish-lovers are often lined up an hour before opening (even in the pouring rain).

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3. Sweedeedee 5202 N Albina Ave, Portland, OR 97217 (N Portland)

Saturdays and Sundays bring long wait times for the exceptional home-style brunch at this bright and cozy counter-serve cafe, stocked with mason jars of pickles and display cases of pies, but no one will complain when hearty corn cakes, fresh-baked rye, a massive breakfast burrito, and a slice of heavenly honey pie arrive table-side. That last one is a piece of sticky-sweet bliss on a flaky crust that's absolutely mandatory when you visit this adorable spot, which is homey enough to be your grandmother's house.

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4. Mi Mero Mole 32 NW 5th Ave, Portland, OR 97209 (Old Townchina Town)

A tribute to the street food of Mexico, Mi Mero Mole by Nick Zukin (of Kenny & Zuke's) has upped the Chinatown taco game... and just about everyone has noticed. Guisados are what the place is about, a Mexican City concept translating to "a stew, stir-fry, or filling," and you can select the kind you want from a chalkboard on the orange wall. Count on a meat, seafood, vegetarian, and vegan option that can be poured into corn tortilla tacos, served as a plate with rice and beans, rolled into a burrito, or grilled into a quesadilla. Boundaries are pushed with adventerous meat options like tongue, rabbit, and blood sausage, which are always better with a margarita from the fast-casual dining room's bar.

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5. Pok Pok 3226 SE Division St, Portland, OR 97202 (Clintondivision)

James Beard Award-winner Andy Ricker's Pok Pok -- the first of a few outposts around the country -- is known for its menu of authentic Thai food. The kitchen hones in on relatively unknown dishes from the North and Northeast of Thailand (don't expect pad Thai here), but a wide range of Southeast Asian flavors and ingredients are represented. Among the roster of family-style noodle dishes, salads, and smoky meats, the chicken wings are a standout. Based on recipe from a Vietnamese street vendor, the wings are marinated in fish sauce and sugar before they're fried and tossed in garlic, resulting in a caramelized finish and a whole lot of flavor.

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6. Pok Pok Noi 1469 NE Prescott St, Portland, OR 97211

This is the tiny, counter-service sister of Pok Pok, chef Andy Ricker's famous Thai restaurant.

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7. Toro Bravo 120 NE Russell St, Portland, OR 97212 (Ne Portland)

A perpetually packed spot in Eliot, this Spanish-inspired restaurant serves up small, shareable plates of succulent beef, pork, lam, and duck with vegetables made every which way to make their way around the table. With rustic red-brown walls and polished wood floors, the unpretentious vibe here makes you feel like you're in the home a good friends, unlike most upscale tapas restaurants.

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8. Kachka 720 SE Grand Ave, Portland, OR 97214

This Russian eatery is brought to you by the team behind Oven & Shaker. Lots of knickknacks litter the area while lace curtains allow just enough natural light in to not feel dark. The menu has plenty of hearty fare, and of course, vodka.

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9. Tasty 'N Sons 3808 N Williams Ave, Portland, OR 97227 (N Portland)

With "Tasty" in the name, you know it must be good. This local tapas spot is popular with the breakfast and brunch crowd, but they also have stellar dinner options and a great happy hour.

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10. Apizza Scholls 4741 SE Hawthorne Blvd, Portland, OR 97215 (Montavilla)

This Hawthorne pizza shop is so focused on making you the perfect pie that if they run out of dough, they'll close early if they have to, to preserve the quality of their ingredients. Serving up quality pies rooted in Neapolitan tradition, Apizza goes heavy on the cheese, generous with the sauce, and hearty on the toppings.

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11. Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library 1124 SW Alder St, Portland, OR 97205 (Downtown)

If you're a whiskey fan, Multnomah Whisk{e}y Library in Portland is worth a trip. One of the best whiskey bars in the country, it has more than 1,500 whiskeys stacked along a huge brick wall, and in true library fashion, they're accessible by a sliding ladder. Roaming bartenders serve drinks from bar carts, and they know more about whiskey than you ever will, so trust them. You can buy a membership to the semi-gentlemen's club to reserve a table ahead of time, otherwise you'll have to wait a few hours for a seat on peak nights with the rest of the non-members. You can always buy a one-time "Hall Pass" to skip the line though.

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12. Screen Door 2337 E Burnside St, Portland, OR 97214 (Kerns)

Screen Door knows Southern cookin', modeling their menu off of such spots as South Carolina Lowcountry and Cajun flavors from New Orleans. What's more, their meals are made with local organic produce and meats to ensure you appreciate the food as much as they do.



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